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‘Youths need to be mentored for governance’

Engr. Kabiru Wunori is a Borno State 2019 governorship aspirant and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC).  He is also chairman, board of…

Engr. Kabiru Wunori is a Borno State 2019 governorship aspirant and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC).  He is also chairman, board of trustees, Young Leadership Association of Nigeria and Special Adviser to the Borno State Governor on Local Government Transition. In this interview, he talks about the role of youths in governance, why he aspires to be governor and more. Excerpts:

Daily Trust: You are a gubernatorial aspirant for the 2019 elections. What would you say prompted your decision to contest for the seat of governor of Borno State?

Kabiru Wunori: It is because of the agitation by the younger generation, especially the less privileged ones. Over the years, our part of the country has been devastated by insurgents called Boko haram. We felt it is absolutely necessary to get a competent person to govern the state, somebody who knows what has happened there and the extent of destruction, and not someone who lives outside the state all these years due to the insurgency and the fear of being killed. The younger generation felt that it is absolutely necessary for someone in their midst to govern aand lead them.

DT: For how long have you lived in Maiduguri? 

Wunori:  Since I was born I have never lived outside the state, not even during all these killings. I have remained there, as part of the people, sitting with them, dining with them and doing everything possible to rescue them.

DT: What would you say is the solution to the insurgency in Borno State?

Wunori: The government needs to involve the traditional institutions and all and sundry, in finding lasting solution to the problem. Someone cannot come from nowhere and just settle and be killing people and go away. We have a traditional hierarchy, from Bulama up to Shehu. Bulama is the smallest traditional title holder that holds a certain area. If these institutions are involved in the governance of this country, I see no reason why this would happen. Since they are responsible for certain areas in the state, their involvement will go a long way in curbing terrorism.

DT: You are presently Special Adviser to the Borno State governor on Local Government Transition. What would you say to those who are skeptical about your ambition, being that you are part of the present government and could influence development?

Wunori: I think there is no crime in being part of a government that has done some good in re-building Borno. I think I have a responsibility, being part of the government. If I am accused of failing in my responsibility, then this could be an issue. 

DT: You are chairman, board of trustees, Young Leadership Association of Nigeria. How valid do you think is the agitation for youths to hold political power?

Wunori: I don’t think the youths, the younger generation we have, are in a position to start governing the country as of now, because they are not yet mentored. They need to be mentored by those who are ahead of them, like what we do in Young Leadership Association of Nigeria.

DT: You say the youth should be mentored by those ahead of them. But it is common knowledge that there has been a lot of corruption at different leadership levels in government, and how inadequate some leaders are. How do you think youths, and Nigeria as a whole, would fare with such bad example?

Wunori: No matter how bad the situation may be, there are still good leaders. If these good ones will take the risk and use some of their time mentoring, I see no reason why the younger generation will not succeed.

DT: What do you think needs to be put in place to ensure free and fair elections, in your state and Nigeria as a whole?

Wunori: For elections to be free and fair, there are a few things that need to be done to ensure it is not corrupted. The younger generation should have a role to play as against thuggery and barbarism. Also, if the younger generation are well-educated, they will sensitise the uneducated ones. Before 2019, we will see a lot of changes. This is just the beginning. The coming of Buhari has changed a lot and challenged Nigerians to stay away from corruption.

DT: How do you view the local government elections that have already taken place, particularly that of Kaduna state?

Wunori: That of Kaduna State was fair to some extent.  But a party in government taking it all, by all means will never help matters. The election has shown a bit of fairness though.

DT: What are those things you have observed in Borno State that makes you take steps toward governance?

Wunori: We need to rescue ourselves in that part of the country from the devastation. Over two million students are left out of school, over 850 destroyed by insurgency.

Although the present governor has done a lot, there is need for continuity. We need to continue from where he stops and correct where he went wrong. For this to happen, there is need for someone who has knowledge of the area and who has the political experience. This is how I felt.

DT: So far, how would you rate the present government in Borno State and what areas do you think still needs the leadership’s attention? 

Wunori: The present government has done a lot in the area of infrastructural development, which includes building of public schools and other public buildings. There has also been re-building of villages and communities that were once destroyed. But that is not enough. The governor has done his best in the limited time he has. The maximum period you can stay in government is eight years. He has suffered a lot and has not been able to do enough because of the insurgency in the state. The only area left is human development by employing and empowering people. Also, re-enrolment of children who have been out of school. There is also agriculture, which has been affected by insurgency. These are areas that need to be looked at.

DT: As a chieftain of the ruling party APC, what do you think the party needs to put in place to ensure election victory at both national and state level? 

Wunori: The party has to put in place a credible candidate who has the country at heart and can do well. Someone who is a democrat, who is free of corruption and is popular among the people. I see no reason why APC will not win.

DT: Do you see such candidates coming to the fore?

Wunori:  Yes, why not, I see it happening. This is what is happening in Borno, since somebody like me, a poor man, from a poor background can come out to seek election. If we were measured by the money we have, I do not think I can go for a counsellorship position. 

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